How to Get Ready for a Grappling or BJJ Private Lesson

How to Get Ready for a Private Lesson
Author: Jason Scully


If you are really having a problem with a certain area and can’t figure it out for the life of you, one of the best things you can do is take a private lesson with a good instructor. Private lessons are usually much different then classes because you’re the only one there and you’re getting all of the attention. You have the ability to ask as many questions as you like during that time frame and get a response that is directed towards you alone.

Your instructor or whoever you are taking the private lesson with can closely evaluate your situation and help you solve any problems you may have. Every time I have taken a private lesson I have felt better as soon as it was over. Now that is big.

The biggest difference between a private lesson and a class setting is that in a class setting the instructor has to teach to a general audience and try to satisfy everyone’s needs to the best of his/her ability at the same time, while with a private lesson you are the only one in the class so your instructor can specifically help you pin point any problems you may be having.

There is one private that I took with a Jorge Gurgel black belt John Stutzman and that one private alone improved my game dramatically. To this day I still use pretty much every technique that he showed me that was geared specifically to my game. Now I’m not saying this will be the case for everyone, but you definitely can’t go wrong with taking a private with a good instructor.

Here are some tips when taking a private session.

  • Be prepared.
  • Make sure you know what your problem areas are. This will help you prepare specific questions to ask the instructor during the private lesson.
  • Do not go into a private lesson without having any questions or not knowing what it is you want to improve or add to your game. Not having questions doesn’t make the situation better and it makes the session much more difficult for both you and your private lesson instructor. This is because you both then have to waste time trying to figure out what you should learn and the content may not be exactly what you needed because it was very general.
  • Bring a notebook. This is because you want to make sure that you can remember everything that you learned during your private session so you can drill the movements and strategies in the future and try to implement them during your training sessions.
  • Take reflection notes after your session.
    • Write down what you learned
    • Did what you learned make sense?
    • Do you think what you learned will work for you?
    • Write what your experience was like.
    • How the instructor was during your lesson, if the instructor was open in letting you ask questions.
    • Did the lesson help you fix your specific problem area?
    • Do you think you need to take another lesson to gain more information on your problem area?
    • And so on.

By doing this it will help you get the most out of your session. It will help you analyze your game more based on what you learned and will also help you decide on whether you may want to take another lesson with the person in the future again or not.

  • Write down ideas on how you’re going to implement what you learned from the session in your regular training such as:
    • Finding a partner to drill the concepts you learned for at least 10 to 15 minutes before or after class.
    • Purposely put yourself in a situation while rolling related to what you learned so you can have the opportunity to drill the concepts in a live situation.
    • Come into class with the mindset that during open training you are just going to focus on what you learned.
    • If you have problems with the concepts you learned at your private session during your training you should make sure you ask your instructor or someone else for assistance.
    • And so on.

While many private lessons may be expensive in price, they are definitely one of the best ways to enhance your grappling game. All of the focus is on you and you alone and that could make a big difference. If you have the chance to take a private lesson with a good instructor it may be a good idea to do so, especially if you have a problem in your game you can’t quite figure out.

Private Lesson Strategy and Analysis Worksheet


Use this worksheet to write down a strategy for your private sessions that you take with your instructor or outside instructors. It will help you develop a plan before you enter the session and also help you analyze the session afterwards, giving you the ability to better utilize what you learned during your private session.

Click the link below to view the document. You can also “right click” the link and choose “save file as” to save it to your computer:

Private Lesson Worksheet: http://tinyurl.com/2u52mq

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